“First and foremost, I’ve always loved to read,” Langdon said. “But it’s not just about books, it’s about what I can do for you.”
Langdon, originally from Jacksonville, is the new Youth Services Librarian at the Jacksonville Public Library. She started September 20 and although she is only 24, Langdon brings a lot of library experience to her job.
Langdon’s first job after graduating from Jacksonville High School was in the library as a page – tidying up books and outfitting the information desk. She attended Lincoln Land Community College while working in the library, and when Langdon transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to earn an undergraduate degree in English, she worked in the public library. from Champaign.
After graduation, Langdon accepted a job as a cataloguer with Perma-Bound in Jacksonville, a position similar to that of a librarian but in a busy business environment. Langdon was working there when the director of the library, Chris Ashmore, asked her if she would be interested in applying for the position of Youth Services Librarian.
“I had worked in the library before and always wanted to come back to work here,” Langdon said. “I love working here, I love everyone who works here, I know a lot of clients very well and I hope they will remember me.”
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Langdon took over the 15-year job held by Cindy Boehlke, who accepted a position in another library system, and Langdon said she had learned a lot from her predecessor.
“She set up a completely different system in the children’s department, especially for picture books. His goal is to make things as easy as possible for the kids, ”Langdon said. “I had never heard of anyone doing this before, but it works really well. This means that children can go to exactly what they want to read about.
“The kids are here, they’re the ones looking at the books, they’re the ones who are going to read, so we want to make it accessible to them,” Langdon said. “Kids don’t care who’s writing the book most of the time, they just want to look at trucks, for example. ”
Langdon is passionate about finding things for clients, whether it’s information or resources.
“A library is a place where anyone in the community can come and access information, services and support. The people who work in public libraries are there for the community, ”Langdon said. “If you need help with anything we want, we can help you, whatever your question, whatever you need help with. ”
Langdon often goes the extra mile for clients, and that dedication can turn into an obsession.
“I really hate that I can’t help someone. If I’m not able to help them, or direct them to someone who can help them, it stays with me for a while, ”Langdon said. “I’m going to sit at the desk and say ‘man, I wish I could have done something else. Maybe I should have looked here before they left, maybe I can get their phone number and try again.
Langdon appreciates the opportunity to work in the historic Carnegie Library building in Jacksonville, built in the early 1900s with funds provided by Andrew Carnegie, who helped build many libraries across the country.
“A lot of other towns had Carnegie libraries, but they tore them down and built more modern buildings,” Langdon said. “I think it’s really cool that when people come here they see the story. They can learn more about the building while they are here. It’s a deeper connection to the city and the community when you come here, it’s not just a building full of books.
Langdon wants to host more in-person events at the library when possible, and with pandemic restrictions in place, she plans to continue the library’s popular virtual programming and Facebook story times for kids. She remembers vividly from her own childhood how inspiring storytelling hours can be for young people.
“’A Wrinkle in Time’ was one of my childhood favorites,” Langdon said. “When I was in third grade, Mike Anderson was my teacher and he would read ‘Le Conte de Despereaux’ to us and it’s an amazing book for kids that age to read.”
Now Langdon enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi books as a form of escape, a positive feeling that she hopes to convey to young people in the community.
“I want them to understand that books are a really good way to get away from this reality that we are in right now,” Langdon said. “It’s the best way to relax and forget about all our problems. ”
Langdon has a sister and a brother, and his father, David Langdon, works for the Jacksonville Police Department. She encourages people to read in whatever format they choose, whether it’s traditional books, e-books, graphic novels, or audiobooks.
“Whatever shape it takes, if you want to appreciate it, then read it,” Langdon said.
Langdon applied for the Masters of Library Science program at the University of Illinois and hopes to be accepted this fall, but it’s a program she can take remotely so she can continue her duties at the public library. of Jacksonville.
In the meantime, things are going well for the new Youth Services Librarian, who has one major goal in mind.
“I want people to say when they come here they have fun and they come away with a smile on their face,” Langdon said.
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